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Postgraduate Child Care Law and Practice

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  • Objectives
    The School of Law and the School of Social Relations offer a major part-time course for social, legal, police, healthcare and other professionals working with children. The course is specially designed so that it may be taken by those who are in full-time employment. The central aims of the course are to update and enhance knowledge of relevant law and research literature and to provide an opportunity for experienced practitioners to further develop and critically reflect upon their skills, as applied to a variety of areas and settings in work with children. It also aims to promote anti-discriminatory practice, inter-agency understanding and interdisciplinary working.
  • Entry requirements
    Applications are welcomed from appropriately qualified and experienced child care professionals. The programme is unsuitable for people without such experience. Applicants should normally have a first degree with First or Second Class Honours or equivalent and/or relevant professional qualifications. Candidates who do not meet the usual criteria will, however, be considered.
  • Academic Title
    MA, Postgraduate Diploma Child Care Law and Practice
  • Course description
    Part-Time study


    The MA in Child Care Law & Practice is a popular and successful course. It has been fully revised and redesigned in line with other MA courses at the University to facilitate exchange of modules and a longer period of individual research. It is taught jointly by members of the
    School of Law and the School of Social Relations as an interdisciplinary course and attracts students from a wide variety of professional backgrounds.

    The course content reflects developments and current debates in child care law and practice. The Keele Law School is one of the top five research departments in the United Kingdom. In the 2001 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) the School received the highest rating of 5*A. We believe that this is an excellent intellectual environment for postgraduate students.

    The appropriate infrastructure is also in place, with proper research training, communal areas for postgraduate students and computing equipment. Continued postgraduate expansion is a priority for the School.

    Course Structure and Content

    The taught Masters programme requires satisfactory completion of at least 180 credits, made up of taught modules each of 0 credits (120 credits) plus a dissertation of 15,000-20,000 words (60 credits). Alternatively, students may finish their studies after obtaining the 120 taught credits and obtain a Postgraduate Diploma. Each student is provided with a personal tutor to assist with studies. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon sociology, social policy, law and child care practice.

    The programme starts with a two-day induction course. The teaching of modules takes place over four intensive three-day blocks in year one between September and May, a structure which particularly benefits part-time students who appreciate ‘time out’ in an accessible academic environment. In year two, students wishing to complete the MA attend
    two, two-day blocks, followed by supervision of work towards a dissertation.

    Course Modules

    Year 1

    Compulsory modules

    • Foundations & Principles of Child Care Law & Practice ( 0 credits)
    • Contemporary Issues in Child Care Law & Practice ( 0 credits)

    Each module has taught sessions comprised of law, practice, sociology and social policy.

    Optional modules

    Students choose a further two modules, totalling 60 credits, from those currently being offered. A typical range of modules is:

    Children Looked After ( 0 credits)
    • Youth Justice ( 0 credits)
    • Education Law ( 0 credits)
    Children & Medicine ( 0 credits)

    The availability of these and other options is dependent upon appropriate staff resources and student demand. There are also individual and group tutorials, occasional seminars and special study days.

    Year 2

    Dissertation (60 credits)

    Students take additional training on Research Methods and Evaluation to support work on their dissertation. This includes seminars at which students present their research project. They then commence their dissertation. Individual supervision is provided throughout the dissertation year.


    Assessment is based on coursework and a dissertation. There are no exams. Assessment of each taught module is by written assignment of about 5,000 words each. A choice of essay titles is provided for each block. In Year 2 the emphasis is on independent research – there is a research methods assignment of 2,000 words formatively assessed and a dissertation of between 15,000 and 20,000 words. The pass mark for all assessments is 50%.

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